The South Australian Country Fire Service will be conducting five days of aviation training exercises out of Port Pirie this week.

About 22 personnel will be involved in the exercises and will accompany a fleet of two single engine air tankers, a helitack aircraft, a helicopter surveillance aircraft and a fixed wing surveillance aircraft.

CFS State Aviation Operations manager Nik Stanley said the exercise is an important part of their pre-fire danger season training.

“These drills are important in arming our aerial crews with the practical experience they need to safely respond to fires over summer,” he said.

“As we saw during last year’s bushfires, our aerial capability can be vital to supporting our firefighting efforts.”

Mr Stanley said that the aircraft alone cannot put out fires. It requires hard-working ground crews in hostile conditions to extinguish the blaze, but aerial firefighting aircraft support ground crews when required.

The exercises will allow aircrew operations to hone their skills and prepare as a team.

“The exercises will train personnel to become accredited Air Attack Supervisors, which will allow them to be responsible for the safe and efficient coordination of aircraft operations when any firefighting aircraft are operating at or near a fire,” he said.

Read more at the Port Pirie Recorder